UWA Skills on Wheels Launched and Deployed


Funded by a major grant from the U. S. Department of Labor and the Delta Regional Commission, the UWA Division of Economic and Workforce Development has launched our new “Skills on Wheels” mobile training labs to serve the needs of rural citizens in ten Alabama Black Belt counties.

In a ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 7, officials of the University of West Alabama along with the Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Commission, Mr. Chris Caldwell, unveiled two high-tech mobile training units that will directly impact workforce development in Sumter, Hale, Greene, Pickens, Marengo, Perry, Wilcox, Choctaw, Clarke and Washington counties.

During the event, it was announced that the units would immediately be deployed to Choctaw and Pickens Counties.

The first deployment in Butler, Alabama is a partnership with Coastal Community College, the City of Butler and the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council. The second unit is expected to be deployed to Pickens County in the next few days in partnership with Alabama Pellets, which is UWA’s first apprenticeship site.

In Butler, the mobile lab will be in place for four weeks, training students in primarily safety and basic manufacturing skills. To date, participants have received 17 certifications that include OSHA-10 manufacturing, construction automotive and general industry. By course completion, they will also take their WorkKeys Career Readiness Exam to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate through ACT.

“In only three weeks, we have seen the positive outcome that partnerships create to meet the workforce training needs of our region,” said Dr. Tina Naremore Jones, Vice-President for Economic & Workforce Development at UWA.

Stuart Lee, Instructional Coordinator in Workforce Development for Coastal Community College said, “The class incorporates a combination of job-hunting methods, interviewing skills, time management, work ethic, and improved math/reading skills. The portability of the unit will allow us deliver the class to remote locations throughout the Black Belt/Southwest Alabama corridor.